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  #1  
Old 12-14-2010
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Question First boat *want ad*, reality check please

Hello, We are looking for a sailboat to liveaboard year round in Boston and could use everyone's advice and guidance. Here's the rundown:

Sailing exp: limited, some local dinghy lessons in CA years ago and a couple of trips on a keelboat
Children: 2-year old and 3-month old
Purpose of boat - liveaboard first, and "one day I'm gonna" cruise. Coastal cruising, but don't want to rule out bluewater.

Non-negotiables:
Sufficient storage space for living aboard as a family
Sleeping accomodations: minimum 2 double berths (one needs to be
divided into 2); other options based on this thread: What Interior Arrangement Really Works for Living Aboard with Kids?
1 double + 2 quarters
3 cabins (ideal)
We are looking for 38 - 42 feet to accomodate our family. I know families have done it on 30' boats, but I'm not sure we are that family. Also, a little worried that we may have a hard time getting insurance for something that big as first time buyers.
Fiberglass hull - no wood or steel
Must be in good enough condition to sail - can't be a handyman's special.

Important:
Less than 6 ft draft
Mast less than 55' tall, for bridge clearance
Moderate cruising boat, but it needs to be sturdy
Rudder needs to protect prop shaft

Nice to have:
Cutaway keel preferable, fin acceptable - don't want a racer, or bolted keel, or centerboard
Prefer a sloop or cutter (as opposed to ketch), single mast
Good engine access and systems access for DIY fixing

Icing on the cake:
Composting toilet
Shower separated from rest of head (not a curtain)
Spinnaker sail for light winds
Less electronics on board
Good anchoring gear

Timing: from spring closing to whenever we find the right boat. We are
committed, but have no specific deadline.

Some boats we're looking at on yachtworld:
C and C landfall 38
Whitby 42
Pearson 422 or 424 - out of our price range
O'Day 38 - 40
Morgan 38
Cheoy Lee 39
Endeavor 40
Gulfstar 41
1970s or 80s boat may be good vintage

Ok, so that's what we've put down so far. Is this reasonable? What else should we consider in our requirements? Are we way out in left field? Let us have it (gently). Thank you in advance!
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Old 12-14-2010
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My only advice has nothing to do with a particular boat. But as your kids grow, they'll develop social and recreational needs that may make this lifestyle difficult. I'm taking about sleepovers, birthday parties, soccer, tee ball... you get the idea. I'm not sure you and wife know yet the degree to which your priorities and lives are going to change. It will be hard (and maybe some would say unfair) to deny your kids the activities all their friends will be involved with.

So my advice? Go for it, but do so with an eye towards being able to "get out of it" with relative ease... get a mainstream popular boat that will be (relatively) easy to re-sell.
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Old 12-14-2010
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First, it'd really help if you had a rough budget in mind... that will eliminate/reduce what choices you have. I also recommend keeping 15-20% of the total purchasing budget aside for refitting, upgrading and modifying whatever boat you do buy.

I'd also ask how much actual sailing experience do you and your spouse actually have? Do you know whether you'll get seasick on a boat in a rolly harbor? You say you have a couple of trips on a keelboat, but that could mean a couple of daysails, so how much real time have you spent aboard?

Also, why are you limiting it to monohulls? There are a good number of small cruising catamarans that would probably be a good fit, if not a better fit than many of the monohulls you've listed. The Prout Snowgoose, the Gemini 105 Mc, etc. would give you at least as much interior living space and be far more comfortable at anchor than the monohulls.

I'd recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine whether any boats you look at are even worth going forward on, saving you the price of a survey on boats that aren't worth looking at further.
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Old 12-14-2010
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Lightbulb

Small world...
One of the regulars over on the Ericson Yacht owners' site lives aboard with spouse in the... Boston area.

They have an E-35-2 and it seems to suit the purpose well.

(EricsonYachts.org: The Starting Point on Ericson Yachts!)

Happy shopping,

LB
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Old 12-14-2010
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Don Casey, author of This Old Boat, has written Inspecting the Aging Sailboat. It's 137 pages. I have a copy and think it is a good book to have.
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Lin and Larry Pardey have their third edition of Capable Cruiser published in 2010. They have a chapter “The Question of Cruising and Kids”. This is an upbeat chapter and is a description of various families with children with practical suggestions thrown in where appropriate. I will mention a few items from the chapter that might influence the choice of boats and cruising. “Boat size didn’t affect the kids we met”. “The very young cruising children we’ve met not only seem to thrive on board but also provide an instant attraction wherever they go…The relative healthiness of cruising children is amazing…safety is a far bigger worry with children afloat…only heard of this one drowning of a child…many young parents insist…children wear flotation vests constantly, morning to night…Once she could swim, we had to take our chances and teach her to be careful…Couples who have a child under three on board usually find that the husband has to sail as a singlehander while the wife works full time as mother and safety officer”. After age 14 children may want to start planning their own life. Parents who wish to enjoy sailing with children need a separate private space for each kid no matter how small. A dinghy for kids is recommended, especially one with sails. The book goes on about all the positive experiences of sailing with children. The book also has sections on boat selection, design, cost, insurance, medical, gear, safety, sails, tenders, outfitting, canvas care, steering failure, repairs at sea, safety aloft, keeping your lover, first time voyagers, communication, writing, photos, engine quitting, various problems sailing and anchoring.
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I have been following sailboats on ebay for several weeks for boat length from 30 to 44 feet. There were 16 boats. Only three were sold and at low prices.
1982 Sabre 30', no bids, minimum opening bid $15,000.00, buy it now $24,900.00
1982 SHARP C&C 37' Reserve Not Met, 31 bids to $23,100 (claimed ready to sail)
1984 Bruce Roberts Mauritius 43ft cruising ketch, no bids, buy it now $75,000.00
1973 C&C Newport 41 no bids, buy it now $50,000 (minor repairs needed in cabin and the autohelm)
1975 PEARSON p30 Reserve Not Met 4 bids to $1225 (GEORGOUS)
1972 Ericson Flushdeck 39 no bids, buy it now $34,950.00 (claimed ready to sail)
1972 Grampian 34' Ketch boat angel ministries 32 bids went for $3,250
1975 Grampian 30' one bid went for $1,000 (claimed ready to sail)
1994 Morgan 38 (Reserve Not Met) 14 bids to $42,000
1987 hunter legend 40 1987 one bid at $48,000.00 reserve not met, buy it now $55,000.00
1982 BRISTOL 35.5 CENTERBOARD no bids, price starting at $40,000
1968 Hughes 38' MKI Sloop $25,000
1962 Lapworth 44 1962 Lapworth Sloop no bidsBuy it now $40,000.00
1980 Islander 36 no bids Buy it now $32,500
1970 Ohlson 38 opening bid $20,000 no bids (ready to sail)
1976 Hardin Seawolf 41 sold for $26,000 (needs bottom paint)
1982 Pearson 32 no bids starting price $22,000
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Old 12-15-2010
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I have to mention ... do you have any idea how cold Boston harbor is in the winter?
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Thank you all for your replies.

hriel1 - Yes, we will be mindful of when it *no longer works* for us or our children and make adjustments accordingly, even if it means moving back to shore.

Sailingdog - We are looking under $40k, which eliminates most catamarans. I would *love* a catamaran, but we also don't want to pay for double slip fee at the marina. Maybe we get a smaller starter boat and someday move up to a catamaran (though DH is resisting the starter boat idea). I've looked at the Boat Inspection Trip Tips. It is invaluable, thank you for sharing this resource.

olson34 - we actually know that couple! Funny, they are fixing up a 45' unfinished boat because they will be starting a family soon. We'd like to stay in the 38-40 range, though.

Lakesuperiorgeezer - wow, it never occurred to me to look on eBay. We've looked at yachtworld, fsbo listings, and craigslist. Will add eBay to the mix. Thanks for the book recommendation, I'm going to check it out.

Justjon - Yes, we've been visiting the marina every other weekend to meet with people living aboard. There is a whole system of winterization including shrinkwrapping that we are learning about.

Thanks all!
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Old 12-15-2010
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To find out what you are getting into, look at Beth A. Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook, 575 pages that are 8 1/2 by 11 inches in size of rather small print with lots of pictures and tables. This book is well written and researched and covers just about everything in boats the size you are considering. The first chapters cover purchasing and fitting out a boat and would be well worth the price I think for just those chapters.
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